At the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, I got the amazing opportunity to talk comics with another legend. I was granted an interview with Darryl McDaniels, of Run DMC fame, at his booth where he was promoting the release of Issue #3 of his DMC comic book. I chose to interview Darryl in my Mysterio costume since Spider-Man was one of his favorite heroes growing up, which was a lot of fun.
So tell me what’s going on with your comic, because you’re on, which issue number?
DMC: I’m on issue #3 right now… we’re currently working on issue #4. We added Larry Hama from GI Joe fame. He’s kinda like the guy, the guru, the spiritual directional coordinator of everything, ’cause we wanna take the book to the next level.
People say the first 3 issues are very well done, so that’s a compliment because we did the book originally as a tribute and a celebration of what makes comics incredible to every generation. If you’re from the 50s, your gonna love it… If you’re presently into comic books you’re gonna love it. So, if you’re a batman, superman, spiderman, iron man, hulk, valiant, milestone fan…for anybody that is a fan of comics, we wanted to do this as a culmination of all events. Marvel was a big influence on us, so for people to say, “This was really well done”…so far, we’re on the right track with it. Larry Hama and Amy Chu are on the team, so that we can knock #4 outta the park.
What are your Heroes in the comic dealing with so far going into #4?
DMC: Anxiety, depression, identity…. One of the heroes just realized he’s adopted, so he’s lookin’ for his roots. The DMC character is everything that I am in this universe, but it’s an alternate universe. So addiction, depression, anxiety…ptsd, political issues, social issues, violence, etc… Everything that we go through in this universe is gonna manifest itself in that universe. It’s Super Heroes, it’s supernatural, it’s spiritual…it’s intergalactic, it’s horror…
What made you decide to bring in supernatural elements into your universe?
DMC: When you look at super heroes, there’s really a supernatural element that everybody overlooks. Everybody is into super powers and special beings… When the gamma rays went into Bruce Banner, he turned into the Hulk, but there’s a supernatural element to that. When you think about the process of how things work, like light speed and all that, and magic… It’s really supernatural. A super hero is a super natural entity.
Jazzmin: I’ve never thought about that…
DMC: If you’re able to turn into the Hulk, then it’s no different than turning into a werewolf. It’s just different causes.
When we created the DMC universe, it’s not me in this universe. In this universe, I’m Daryl McDaniels, the Rapper and my superpower is Hip Hop and Rock’n’Roll. In the alternate universe, I never become a rapper. I actually graduate from St. John’s University, and that came from my head guy, Rick Morales. He said, “D, if you never rapped, what would you be doin’?” Nobody had ever asked me that. But, I was a good student the whole time, so I probably would have become a teacher because I love education. So, in the alternate universe, I’m a teacher. I’m a teacher who discovers that he has super powers. Where as, in this universe, I’m a student who discovered I have Rap super powers.
In that other universe, everything that I am… I found out I was adopted at age 35. I was gonna commit suicide in 1993. Until I found my birth Mother, I was walking around not knowing who I was. All of those life issues are going into my character.
Who or what is the villain in your series since it’s based so much on you? Is it internal as well as external?
DMC: You hit it on the nose. I’m fightin’ a lot of bad guys, but the bad guys are only a metaphor for what I’m fighting personally. There’s gonna be the human-corporate-guy that wants to take over the world and the guy that comes from another galaxy, like Thanos, that wants to destroy us. There’s the cops, robbers, and the guys selling drugs that I’m fighting…but those obstacles are nothing compared to the obstacles that DMC faces every day as who he is. Which we’ll reflect on…
And not only DMC! I don’t want to give away too much, but there’s a character in my book who’s the most powerful being damn-near in the whole universe, but she refuses to use any of her powers to solve her problems. She’s a social worker, and everyday she’s working with these kids in the foster care system, and she looks at their lives and she says, “These people…”
Jazzmin: “…Are the ones that need help.”
DMC: YEAH! …”As powerful as I am.” So, what she starts doing is, when an intergalactic, occult, or supernatural threat comes, she won’t even use her power to confront it!
Jazzmin: She sounds awesome! Who inspired her?
DMC: What inspired her for me was… I was adopted when I was 5 years old, but I didn’t find this out until I was 35. When I came out and found out I was adopted and I was a foster kid, I worked with a lot of foster care agencies across America.
These kids are phenomenal. I had a good situation. I fortunately was adopted. Some of these kids went through Hell…[a lot of abuse], but they still got this hope in them. It’s the Social Workers… Not the ones who work with the kids just to get the check. I’m talkin’ about the ones that really want to see these kids do well. I was inspired by all of those Social Workers who give their life to these children.
Jazzmin: I have a close friend who went through something very similar, but she came out on the “bad end”, and comics have helped her cope.
DMC: Comics helped me cope. So, I can relate, and that’s what I mean… I didn’t have the rough journey; I had the same situation. Fortunately, the people around me allowed me to get where I was supposed to go, so the people on the bad end of it… Those are the people… When I go talk [about it], I like to bring them, so they can let the world know what’s really going on.
With that being said… The extreme and the fortunate has to be in my book. The good and the bad, the Villain and the Hero… If I’m gonna put super powers in there, I gotta put mystical stuff in there, too.
nd, I forgot to add earlier, [the story] is in an 80’s-like universe… But, it could be the future.
If you’re comic were to be adapted into a movie, ’cause that’s the big thing right now… Who would you want to play You?
DMC: Past and present to play me. Wow… That’s a great question. I love so many people…… Denzel Washington!
Jazzmin: Denzel Washington? You think he can rap?
DMC: Yeah! Denzel can do everything!
Jazzmin: That’s true…
DMC: The reason I say Denzel is, my character is sort of like the Equalizer character he played…gentle, caring, really bad-ass, and complicated himself. Even on a level, where I think Denzel would be able to capture my reluctance.
I never wanted to be in show business. My creative outlet, me writing my rhymes, I wrote them for me. I was just pretending to be the most powerful entity in the universe. But, coming out of that, my pretending was actually practice, even though I was make-believing. So, it would probably be Denzel.
If I had to pick somebody from this generation, to capture me at that age [when I was 18/19], if he could really act, it would probably have to be Chance the Rapper. A lot of people say we looked alike…
Jazzmin: As young you? That’s true!
DMC: So, Denzel could play my Dad and Chance the Rapper could play me. I think he’d rock it.
Jazzmin: That is such a good cast. Thank you so much! It was great talking with you.
Talking to Darryl was one of my favorite interviewing opportunities at San Diego Comic Con. He is an artist with a vision and full of passion for the work he’s doing, and not just in comics. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing the first three issues of DMC for CFG. Another awesome interview in the bag thanks to Darryl McDaniel’s and his team!